What It Was They Became
From John Prine to Guy Clark to Hoagy Carmichael to Shakespeare, Keith Miles has always been a fan of storytellers whose well-honed prose and perfectly turned phrasing paints vivid images in the mind's eye. And that inspiration comes through loud and clear on Miles debut CD, What It Was They Became (House of Trout Records), which runs a gamut of Americana music mixed with handfuls of blues, country, and swing, with some rock 'n' roll undertones and a few dashes of Leon Redbone thrown in for good measure. It's the words that have always been important to Miles, a Virginia native who mostly grew up in a mid-sized college town in East Tennessee, where influences of the post-hippie 70s met head-on with the musical and storytelling heritage of the Appalachians. As Miles went through a professional evolution from daily newspaper reporter to Congressional press secretary to partner in a Nashville public relations firm, he never put down his guitar or his pencil, or especially his desire to burn a selection of his handicraft to disc. Miles isn't quitting his day job, but neither is What It Was They Became just a vanity project. While music is an avocation, Miles has had some success. He was a co-writer on Iola, which was released in the mid-90s by Great Plains, and he got a two-for-one, with cuts by Great Plains and Kenny Rogers on the also co-written Homeland. Backed in the studio by a tight-knit band of topnotch musicians (and friends), Miles brings his stories to life with equal parts of wry, wit and imagery. The album was produced by Jack Sundrud, a longtime Nashville musician, former frontman for the band Great Plains, and now touring bassist for the legendary country rock group, Poco.